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Nixon planning new jobs initiative

Gov. Jay Nixon (UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Governor Jay Nixon is putting together another jobs initiative for the 2010 legislative session, which begins two months from now.

The initiative will be called "Missouri First," and comes out of a series of meetings around the state the Democratic Governor held with business leaders and community college officials.

Press Secretary Scott Holste says it would focus primarily on aiding existing businesses in Missouri.

"We want to make sure that we've got the appropriate tools and incentives to be able to work with Missouri businesses to keep them here, and also to insure that they are able to grow and expand," Holste said.

Missouri First is expected to include state tax breaks and programs with community colleges to provide workforce training.

State Representative Allen Icet (R, Wildwood), Chair of the House Budget Committee and GOP candidate for State Auditor, says the proposal sounds like a good idea, but he also expressed skepticism.

"Can the state really provide additional, and I'm presuming these are general revenue tax credits...do we really have the (general revenue) to support anything else? Although I clearly am in support of keeping jobs and this sort of thing, so this would have to be, I would say, very carefully evaluated," Icet said.

Auto battery maker Kokam America is waiting to hear if it has secured enough funding to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Lee's Summit. Earlier this year the company also accepted a bid to build a new plant in Michigan.